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#1 2005-02-09 21:28:23

sud_crow
Member
From: Argentina
Registered: 2003-06-30
Posts: 545

ATI or nVidia?

Hi everyone,

I would like to know your opinion on this issue, as im about to buy one and i was wondering how much has ATI improved the support for Linux?
Do you think the improved performance/price ratio of ATI cards in the lower end models (9250 and 9550 or 9600) are still there in Linux? Or should i go with a FX5200 Ultra or 5700LE for casual gaming?


Leonardo Andrés Gallego
www.archlinux-es.org || Comunidad Hispana de Arch Linux

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#2 2005-02-09 22:15:07

phrakture
Arch Overlord
From: behind you
Registered: 2003-10-29
Posts: 7,879
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

As for gaming, I've been an nvidia guy for a while - even under windows some games just flat out don't render right on ATIs - hell even the linux FPS "cube" has a binary and then a "ati fixed" version of the same binary....

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#3 2005-02-09 22:59:07

Dusty
Schwag Merchant
From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
Website

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#4 2005-02-09 22:59:24

kill
Member
Registered: 2004-09-30
Posts: 126

Re: ATI or nVidia?

Every ATI card I have/had don't work nearly as well as my nvidia ones. ATI's driver are buggy on any os. Go with nvidia it's by far a superior product.

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#5 2005-02-09 23:52:26

mico
Member
From: Slovenia
Registered: 2004-02-08
Posts: 239

Re: ATI or nVidia?

Not that there's something terribly wrong with ATI, but I'd always choose nvidia. I would reconsider this choice only if I was 100% sure I would use it on windows only. I own an ancient GF2 and am still very pleased with it. I don't play the newest games though. Only for the 5200 I was told it is not worth buying because it's even slower than some older cards, like GF4 Ti.

For info about cards' speed on archlinux, see this topic:
http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?t=9616

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#6 2005-02-10 08:35:41

arooaroo
Member
From: London, UK
Registered: 2005-01-13
Posts: 1,268
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

I wish I had the option for an nVidia card for my laptop. It only came with an ATI card. The card itself is pretty decent and runs well on Windose. However, the process of getting 3D acceleration within Linux looks so long and tortuous that I haven't even bothered trying.

Nvidia is way ahead in this respect - my desktop PC has had several nvidia cards from TNT2 to Geforce 4 and all have worked flawlessly within Linux. The nvidia drivers kept getting easier to install in fact.

I also expect that Nvidia cards are faster too. I recall a time a while ago when ATI suddenly seemed to take over Nvidia for performance, but I think nvidia quickly reclaimed their crown.

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#7 2005-02-10 09:38:34

xerverius
Member
From: ~
Registered: 2004-11-02
Posts: 230
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

NVidia works always good with Windows and they realease a lot of diver updates and the linux drivers are getting better each day smile.
And Arch has drivers for nvidia is the package list and as far as i know not for ATI.

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#8 2005-02-10 14:02:14

sud_crow
Member
From: Argentina
Registered: 2003-06-30
Posts: 545

Re: ATI or nVidia?

Thanks everyone for the comments...!

Yeah, i been looking at nVidia cards, but there were some ATI with real good prices/performance ratios, so i was thinking maybeeeee... but i guess not smile

Here are my current options:

Albatron FX5200 Ultra  (better than default 5200)                99     U$S
Chaintec FX5500 256Mb                                                     93     U$S
MSI FX5500 TD256                                                         115      U$S
XFX 5700LE 256Mb                                                          116     U$S
MSI FX5700 VTD-128                                                      157      U$S

Ive been looking hundreds of reviews, but all look quite the same, i listed the cards based on their performance (more or less), the 5200U is almost the same (if not some times better) than the 5500 counterparts.

Damn is hard to pick a video card this days... i remember my when i bought my first 3D card, an Ati Rage 128 with the incredible amount of 32mb, it lasted around 5 months till i changed it for a GF2 MX (because i had a good discount giving mine). This was 5 years ago, and its still my main card smile

Edit:

Finally im between this:
MSI FX5700 VTD256
XFX FX5700LE 256mb
and
Albatron FX5200 Ultra 128mb

The main diferences are that the 5700LE has a clock/mem of 250/200(400) while it has a couple of technologies that the 5200U at 325/300(600) doesnt.

Here is a comparison table for those interested:
http://cyber.hardwarezone.com/articles/ … cid=3&pg=1
Although it doesnt include the 5200U you can find it below the table, on another article in the same website.

It seems the 5700LE is pretty overclockable so, i might give it a try or i might spend a little extra and go for the MSI with the video in.


Leonardo Andrés Gallego
www.archlinux-es.org || Comunidad Hispana de Arch Linux

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#9 2005-02-10 18:23:38

skoal
Member
From: Frequent Flyer Underworld
Registered: 2004-03-23
Posts: 612
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

sud_crow wrote:

[...]
Here are my current options:

Albatron FX5200 Ultra  (better than default 5200)                99     U$S
Chaintec FX5500 256Mb                                                     93     U$S
MSI FX5500 TD256                                                         115      U$S
XFX 5700LE 256Mb                                                          116     U$S
MSI FX5700 VTD-128                                                      157      U$S

Sud_crow, I would suggest buying an older Ti-4200, 4600, or even 4800SE.  You can get them cheaper than any of those models you list above, plus, any one of them will equal or outperform most of the 5 you list above.

I have a Ti-4600, and I think you can buy a 4800SE-8x online for less than $80.  I would hunt around the net and find a 4800SE-8x w/128MB somewhere.  My younger cousin gets ~40FPS in DoomIII@1024/med. with it.  All the other games he plays on Linux run smoother than a baby's rear end.

As far as ATI goes, they lost my affiliation with them on Linux along time ago.  I was so impressed with the NVIDA forums, I ditched an expensive ATI-AIW and never looked back.  For effortless performance and stability in Linux, stick with NVIDIA.

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#10 2005-02-10 22:29:04

B15HOP
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2005-02-10
Posts: 131

Re: ATI or nVidia?

Yes I would suggest an older nvidia as well! My GeForce 5200 doesn't cut it for games, the nvidia ti4600 beats my card hands down!

If only I could down grade to a ti4800 I think I would be a lot happier.


"The ecological crisis is a moral issue."

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#11 2005-02-11 01:14:30

sud_crow
Member
From: Argentina
Registered: 2003-06-30
Posts: 545

Re: ATI or nVidia?

I cant get a GF4, you cant find one of those over here, and buying from eBay its not an option as i live in Argentina and i dont know if they send to international destintations.


Leonardo Andrés Gallego
www.archlinux-es.org || Comunidad Hispana de Arch Linux

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#12 2005-02-11 01:44:18

aCoder
Member
From: Medina, OH
Registered: 2004-03-07
Posts: 359
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

I would disagree with the many who say that the GF4s ar so great.  I have an FX5200 that I'm very happy with coming from a 4, but it wasn't one of the deluxe tis or ultras either, so they might've been better.  Regardless, I'm of the opinion that the vendor is very important, and I would recommend the XFX cards over anything else you've listed.  However, the card I have now is from a company called Mad Dog Multimedia, and I've been really happy with them, and purchased a DVD writer from them recently.  Both Mad Dog products are connected to an XFX mainboard though...


If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.
  - John Cage

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#13 2005-02-11 05:11:14

B15HOP
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2005-02-10
Posts: 131

Re: ATI or nVidia?

I have an FX5200 that I'm very happy with coming from a 4, but it wasn't one of the deluxe tis or ultras either, so they might've been better. Regardless, I'm of the opinion that the vendor is very important, and I would recommend the XFX cards over anything else you've listed.

My MSI GeForce 5200FX dissapoints also in its stability and build quality. When I first installed it, (on windows) the pc would lockup due to the heat generated by the GPU. To rectify this I put a big cpu heatsink on, yet after doing this, the thing still runs hot. I have heared that some are duds though, although if that is the case, its a tad late to return. Not that I didnt try to shamefully return the 5200fx when I first got it.


"The ecological crisis is a moral issue."

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#14 2005-02-11 05:21:35

aCoder
Member
From: Medina, OH
Registered: 2004-03-07
Posts: 359
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

When I first installed it, (on windows) the pc would lockup due to the heat generated by the GPU.

I could see where people may have problems with this chip that I wouldn't, since the maximum temperature anywhere in my case tops out around 70 degrees farenheit.  I suppose my reasonably functional cooling system is also at fault for my box beating up on shiny new OEM PCs as well.

I have heared that some are duds though,

Like I said, recent nVidia-based cards are best purchased on the vendor's merits, not the nVidia chip on it.  I've had bad luck with anything from MSI and would strongly recommend against it.  Personally, I like Mad Dog, XFX, Chaintec, and PNY, although my experience with the last two of those is very limited.


If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.
  - John Cage

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#15 2005-02-11 05:36:47

skoal
Member
From: Frequent Flyer Underworld
Registered: 2004-03-23
Posts: 612
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

sud_crow wrote:

I cant get a GF4, you cant find one of those over here[...]

In that case, I would stick with the 5700.  They are basically on par with my Ti-4600, if not slightly better.  All the FX chips over 5700 are worth the price, but any models lower than that are not.

Definitely stay away from any of the older GF4-MX chips.  Those were bargain basement offerings, which really didn't offer much at all.

Opinions will vary, but if you are looking for a reasonably priced card to play most OpenGL apps, the 5700 is pretty much the bare minimum these days.  I'm not a hardcore gamer, but all the reviews I analyzed about a year ago convinced me to get a 4600, or 5700, which are basically the same performance wise.

I just had to try out Doom3 when it came out for Linux, so I bought it.  It ran comfortably at ~30FPS @1024 and medium quality.  If it does that well for this game, I would expect it to achieve exceptional marks on all the other Linux games currently available.

As far as brand name goes, NVIDIA is very strict about all vendors following specific guidelines.  You shouldn't notice any appreciable difference between manufacturers.  With that said, I "ponied" up the big bucks awhile back for my Ti-4600 and bought an ASUS card to match my motherboard.  Needless to say, I've had no problems with it for almost 2 years now.

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#16 2005-02-11 05:38:16

iBertus
Member
From: Greenville, NC
Registered: 2004-11-04
Posts: 2,228

Re: ATI or nVidia?

I had a Raddy 8500LE 128MB overclocked to the standard 8500 speed and was quite happy with it. The ATI drivers are a pain to install but once you've done it a few times it's second nature. However, I'd probably go with nvidia if you're hunting for a good all around linux package. In my opinion, ATI has better hardware, but nvidia has better drivers. The GeForce FX series is basically crap... I've got a 5700LE 256MB hooked up to my Athlon XP (2.3Ghz) and even with the card overclocked it has a hard time with any game made in the past year. I play UT2004 on a regular basis along with enemy territory and must note that on the latter my Raddy 8500 had better performance (fill-rate related it think). Also, ATI just started supporting the newer Xorg version and thus their drivers are buggy. It wasn't uncommon to have glitches in the graphics while playing ET that were unrelated to any overclocking and just caused by buggy drivers.

Go nvidia if you want less hassel, just pacman -Sy nvidia and your away. I'd also like to mention that nvclock from the repos doesn't support overclocking the 5700LE. I had to mod the bios to overclock. I can post more detail if you want.

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#17 2005-02-11 11:46:01

B15HOP
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2005-02-10
Posts: 131

Re: ATI or nVidia?

I could see where people may have problems with this chip that I wouldn't, since the maximum temperature anywhere in my case tops out around 70 degrees farenheit. I suppose my reasonably functional cooling system is also at fault for my box beating up on shiny new OEM PCs as well.

Yeah my case actually has good ventilation as well! Although specificly, my cpu is an Athlon XP2100+ Palamino core runing at stock speed.  Yet the cpu sits on around 30 to 40*C, even though its an older palamino model, thus hotter. The 5200FX with stock heatsink on the other hand burns your fingers.

Other branded cards have better design, ie they at least have a fan on the GPU heatsink. Now my 5200FX has an Athlon heatsink bolted on with a 90mm fan @ 9V on the gpu core to keep it cool. I have never had stability issues since this modification and this was all done when I ran my system on windows XP.

So what am I saying here? It is very important to get a good quality card to begin with, to avoid the hassle. No matter how stable your drivers are, poor card design wont fix an overheating GPU! It seems ATi excells in heat reduction, which goes hand in hand with having a much lower power consumption.


"The ecological crisis is a moral issue."

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#18 2005-02-12 00:59:27

aCoder
Member
From: Medina, OH
Registered: 2004-03-07
Posts: 359
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

The really nice thing about ATi cards is their consistent quality.  Since ATi sells the whole board, rather than just the chip, a good ATi chip = a good ATi board.  The All-in-Wonders are nice too.  I have an AIW 8500DV laying around, which is a great card, both in 3d performance and video capture, but I'm not using it right now in favor of my FX5200, (which has just slightly better performance, with twice the RAM and AGP 8x, where my 8500DV uses 4x), because I only have Linux available to me, and there's no way to do video capture and 3d on it at the same time, and GATOS sucks hard on this particular board.


If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.
  - John Cage

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#19 2005-02-13 04:32:50

sud_crow
Member
From: Argentina
Registered: 2003-06-30
Posts: 545

Re: ATI or nVidia?

Hi again, thanks a lot for all the info.

Ill be buying the card the next month probably, as i run out of funds with the mobo, cpu, memories and case/p. supply.

I will go with nothing less than the 5700LE, if i manage to get the money for a pure 5700 i will go with that one.

iBertus wrote:

Go nvidia if you want less hassel, just pacman -Sy nvidia and your away. I'd also like to mention that nvclock from the repos doesn't support overclocking the 5700LE. I had to mod the bios to overclock. I can post more detail if you want.

I dont use the Arch kernel, so i cant use the built drivers, i install the vanilla from nvidia site. I would love to know a little more about your expiriencies with this card and overclock, as this is one of the main reasons i was thinking in acquaring it, paying almost 40$ less is quite a deal.

Again, thanks everyone for your comments, its great to have _real_ comments from _real_ people about the performance and troubles with this cards in Linux and not some reviews where you dont know who-is-paying-what.


Leonardo Andrés Gallego
www.archlinux-es.org || Comunidad Hispana de Arch Linux

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#20 2005-02-13 06:37:52

skoal
Member
From: Frequent Flyer Underworld
Registered: 2004-03-23
Posts: 612
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

sud_crow wrote:

[..]I'd also like to mention that nvclock from the repos doesn't support overclocking the 5700LE. I had to mod the bios to overclock. I can post more detail if you want.

If you're going to overclock, you might prefer sticking to one of the "major" manufacturers (as subjective as that sounds).  Of course, you will pay extra for certain manufacturers.  That may not be necessary, but at least for the past few years, some of the best manufacturers for overclocking are (in this order):

AsusTek
PNY
XFX
Gigabyte
Leadtek
Gainward

* I"ve seen many a review on overclocking, and these guys have been around for along time with NVIDIA cards.  That's just my empirical opinion, and it normally turns out to be "a crap shoot" with most manufacturers in the longrun anyway.

I paid $60 more for my Asus Ti-4600 than the average of all the other manufacturers for the very reason of overclocking.  The funny thing is, I haven't overclocked it yet since it does so well without it.  What's even worse, I could have easily bought an NVIDA chipset 2 model upgrades from mine for the same price.  Either way, I've had it 2 years with no problems and it's whisper quiet.

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#21 2005-02-13 11:10:35

IceRAM
Member
From: Bucharest, Romania
Registered: 2004-03-04
Posts: 772
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

sud_crow wrote:

I dont use the Arch kernel, so i cant use the built drivers, i install the vanilla from nvidia site. I would love to know a little more about your expiriencies with this card and overclock, as this is one of the main reasons i was thinking in acquaring it, paying almost 40$ less is quite a deal.

Use ABS!

While running your custom kernel, without X started, as root:

# abs
# cd /var/abs/extra/x11/nvidia/pkg/
# makepkg
# pacman -U <nvidia-package-which-was-just-created>.pkg.tar.gz

And you're done.
That's how I do it, and it works!

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#22 2005-02-13 18:11:20

aCoder
Member
From: Medina, OH
Registered: 2004-03-07
Posts: 359
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

pacman -S nvidia runs nvidia-installer when installing the pkg, so it works fine for custom kernels and stock kernels alike.  The nvidia kernel module can only exist for 1 kernel at a time, however.  Each time you run pacman -S nvidia, the module is compiled for the running kernel.


If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.
  - John Cage

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#23 2005-02-13 18:35:00

sud_crow
Member
From: Argentina
Registered: 2003-06-30
Posts: 545

Re: ATI or nVidia?

I would love to find a GF4 4200 agp8x 128mb, or better for under 100 bucks, but the only one i could find was an Albatron GF4 4200 with 64mb for 100U$S, i dont think it will performe as a 5700, and if i acquiare a LE version, i will overclock it...
As for the brand, the only i might be able to buy, is a XFX or a MSI, as all the other brands are more expensive (asus, gigabyte...)

The thing is, i didnt want to spend more than 100 u$s, but the only decent cards i can get for that money are the GF4 4200 with 64mb or the 5200 Ultra with 128mb, raising the bar to 120u$s i have the 5700LE and to 160u$s the 5700. Being the last, over 60% in price than my original budget.

But i was thinking, my actual card is a GF 2 MX (Leadtek Winfast), and it has been with me for 5 years now. So maybe spending a little extra now, will compensate in the long run. What do you think? When i bought the GF2 MX, was the bottom of the line for the generation, and she served me well till now.


Thanks for the tip on ABS IceRAM. I forget about it sometimes.

I didnt knew that pacman -S nvidia run the installer, i guess thats a good thing, it will save me a couple of minutes of searching through the nvidia site for the new drivers. Thanks.


Leonardo Andrés Gallego
www.archlinux-es.org || Comunidad Hispana de Arch Linux

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#24 2005-02-13 19:26:18

skoal
Member
From: Frequent Flyer Underworld
Registered: 2004-03-23
Posts: 612
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

sud_crow wrote:

I would love to find a GF4 4200 agp8x 128mb, or better for under 100 bucks, but the only one i could find was an Albatron GF4 4200 with 64mb for 100U$S[...]

Well, this much I will say.  Most of the reviews I saw awhile back showed the older 4x/4200/64MB boards outperforming the  4x/4200/128MB cards in a lot of the benchmarks.  It had to do with differences in DDR memory clock rates.  In fact, several hardware reviews noticed that curious fact, and recommended that 64MB card over the 128MB if you could find it.  The problem was, they were hard to find since the 8x cards already flooded the market by the time I was reading those reviews.  Albatron is a good manufacturer, much like the rest.  I think iBertus said he had a 5700LE overclocked, and he wasn't too happy with it.  It appears to me, however, that most people in these forums love the hello out of their 4200s.

The funny thing sud_crow, is that my first choice of video cards 2 years ago was the 4200/64MB/4x version.  I could only find the 8x/128MB version and decided in the end to just "bite the bullet" and get the Ti-4600.  That started a whole "feeding frenzy" when I was putting my system together.  Next thing you know, I convinced myself to get SCSI vs. IDE, 19" vs. 17", etc.  There went my budget.  If only I had found that precious 4x/64MB 4200...

In the end, it sounds to me like you have distribution/availability concerns where you live.  So, I would probably make a final decision based on the ability to return it to the retailer if I didn't like it, or exchange it for one of the others in your list.

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#25 2005-02-13 19:45:07

skoal
Member
From: Frequent Flyer Underworld
Registered: 2004-03-23
Posts: 612
Website

Re: ATI or nVidia?

aCoder wrote:

[...]Regardless, I'm of the opinion that the vendor is very important, and I would recommend the XFX cards over anything else you've listed.  [...]

You're right there.  From what I recall, XFX has been a close partner with NVIDIA for the longest time.  I still prefer Asus for anything and everything they make, much like Sony.  My personal experiences with those 2 vendors made me a faithful and loyal patron for at least the last 5 years.  My 19" Sony "flat" CRT is still working flawlessly.  It even has a "restore" feature which makes it look every bit as sharp as day one.  I spent the "big bucks" for it, but it was a wise investment.

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